Analyzing politicians' media criticism on social media

A growing literature on the impact of “fake news“accusations on legacy news outlets suggests that the use of this term is part of a much larger trend of increased and delegitimizing media criticism by political actors. However, so far, there is very little empirical evidence on how prevailing politicians' delegitimizing media criticism really is and under which conditions it occurs. To fill these gaps, we present results of a content analysis of media-related Facebook postings by Austrian and German politicians in 2017 (N=2,921). The results suggest that media criticism, in general, is actually rare and that about half of it can be described as delegitimizing (i.e., characterized by incivility or absence of argumentation). Most often, media criticism is used by populist politicians, who accuse “the media” in general of bias and falsehoods.

Egelhofer, J. L., Aaldering, L., & Lecheler, S. (2021). Delegitimizing the media? Analyzing politicians' media criticism on social mediaJournal of Language and Politics20(5), 653-675.

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